Monday, March 9, 2020


By Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt
OPEN HOUSE  *  March 7, 2020
at The Int’l Christian Women’s Hall of Fame

To access the video teaching that goes with this outline, click this link.
For many churches, “authority” is the central issue that determines a woman’s role in their congregation. One mega church, for example, allows women pastors but only male elders. They explain that the governing body for their church is their board of elders, and since women cannot exercise governing authority, all elders must be men. This “authority” myth is pervasive. The popular Spirit Filled Life Bible, for example, without a shred of evidence, explains the prohibition toward women in I Timothy 2:12 as referring to “the authoritative office of apostolic teacher in the church.” We will confront this “myth” in the following lesson.
I.        The New Testament Greek word for “authority” is exousia and it carries the meaning of “authority” and “the right to act.”
A.      Exousia is found 102 times in the Greek New Testament plus several times in its verb and cognate forms.
1.       And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes (Mark 1:22).
2.       Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness according the authority the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction (II Corinthians 13:10).
3.       Nevertheless, we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ (I Corinthians 9:12b).
4.       The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does (I Corinthians 7:4).
This is the only passage where Paul uses the word authority regarding the marriage relationship, and he gives the same authority to the wife as to the husband.
B.       Nowhere in the New Testament is a woman told she cannot exercise exousia, i.e., authority.
II.       Jesus completely blew apart the “authority” myth when he made “service” the criterion for leadership in His kingdom.
A.      Jesus insisted that diakonos (service) rather than exousia (authority) would be the defining characteristic of leadership in His kingdom (Mark 10:35-45).
B.       Jesus presented this radical model of leadership to His disciples in response to James and John requesting the two most prominent seats in the kingdom, which provoked an argument among the Twelve about who would be the greatest.
C.       The Twelve must have been shocked when Jesus told them they were to function as diakonoi, a Greek word that referred to a lowly “servant” with no connotations of status, importance or power.
III.      During the 1st century when “service” was the chief characteristic of a Christian leader, women functioned freely in leadership as evidenced even by Paul.
A.      Phoebe is described by Paul as a diakonos, the word Jesus said should characterize His leaders. Paul also calls her a prostatis, which the NKJV translates as “helper,” but Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon says the word refers to “a woman set over others” (Romans 16:1-2).
B.       Paul greets Priscilla and Aquilla and the church that is in their house. Priscilla and Aquilla are always mentioned together and here Paul went against the accepted protocol and mentioned Priscilla first, leading many NT scholars to believe that she was the spiritually gifted one and the pastor of the church that met in their home (Romans 16:3-5).
C.       Paul greets Andronicus and Junia who are of note among the apostles (Romans 16:7). Junia is a feminine name and every ancient Greek manuscript has the feminine form.
1.       Based on the overwhelming textual and historical evidence, every early English translation opted for the feminine name, Junia. These include Tyndale’s New Testament (1526), the Coverdale Bible (1535), the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva Bible (1560), the Bishop’s Bible (1568) and the King James Version (1611).
2.       We only find the male name "Junias" appearing in modern translations beginning with the Revised Version in 1881 and followed by the RSV, the NASB, the TEV, the MSG and the 1984 NIV. Newer translations, such as the NRSV, NLT and NKJV, have returned to the original understanding of the word as Junia. Faced with the overwhelming evidence, the translators of the NIV changed the name to Junia in their 2011 edition.
D.      In Philippians 4:3 Paul acknowledges the women whom he said, Labored with me in the gospel. Gerald F. Hawthorne, in the Word Biblical Commentary, says that Paul, in this passage, uses a metaphor which means "to fight together side by side with," clearly indicating that Paul sees these women, not as peons under him, but as highly esteemed members of his team who have labored at his side in the cause of Christ.
E.       Considering the many examples of women leaders in Scripture, it is no wonder that the noted British, New Testament scholar, the late F.F. Bruce declared, “The mainstream churches of Christendom, as they inch along towards a worthier recognition of the ministry of women, have some way to go yet before they come abreast of Paul.”
IV.     The word “authority” in I Timothy 2:12 is NOT from exousia. It is translated from a strange Greek word, authentein, and is found only here in the entire New Testament.
A.      Authentein is a negative word meaning to control or domineer and at least once was used in the ancient world regarding a murder.
B.       Because this is not exousia, the normal word for authority, Paul cannot be here referring to the normal exercise of authority in the church.
C.       Because authentein is found only here, in this personal letter to Timothy, Paul’s directive that women are not to teach or to authentein a man must be understood as applying to the unique situation Timothy is facing in the city of Ephesus where he is confronting heretical teaching (see I Timothy 1:3).
V.      After Paul and the first generation of Christians passed off the scene, the church began to institutionalize, putting more and more emphases on outward forms of order and structure.
A.      As part of this institutionalizing process, they began to think of ministry, no longer in terms of service, but in terms of "office" and "authority."
B.       This “authoritarian” approach to church and ministry reached its crescendo with Constantine and the emergence of a form of Christianity that is predicated on power and authority.
C.       It was after the church institutionalized and began to think of leadership in terms of “office” and “authority” that women began to be excluded from leadership roles in the church and passages such as I Timothy 2:11-12 used to justify their exclusion.
D.      The fact that so much of the church still makes “authority” the criterion for excluding women from leadership, is an indication that we have not fully recovered from the Constantinian form of church where “authority” is the central issue.
VI.     Let us pray and be bold to declare God’s truth to this generation. Pray that our authority-laden church structures will be transformed into centers of service where women as well as men are free to exercise their leadership gifts and callings. This, I believe, will help position us to see another great world-wide spiritual awakening.
This outline was derived from the book, Paul, Women and Church, by Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt and is available from Amazon and his website, To access the video where Dr. Hyatt is teaching this subject, click this link.

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